Hurricane-force winds in California? Yes, that is the unusual warning that the meteorological service warned in one of the climate scenarios “most dramatic in recent times.”
A storm hit California on Sunday, flooding roads, knocking out power and prompting a rare hurricane-force wind warning as the state braced for yet another storm in what could be days of heavy rainin a place on the planet where Precipitation is a rarity.
In Southern California, authorities warned about Devastating floods and evacuations ordered of canyons burned by forest fires that are at high risk of suffering mud and debris flows.
More than 847,000 customers were without power statewide Sunday night, with most outages concentrated in coastal regions.
A volleyball court covered in water in Southern California. Photo: EFE
Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for eight counties on Sunday, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura. The Governor's Office of Emergency Services activated its operations center and positioned personnel and equipment in the highest risk areas.
The storms that hit the region are named “atmospheric river.”
Atmospheric rivers are long, relatively narrow bands of water vapor that form over an ocean and flow through the sky, transporting much of the moisture from the tropics to northern latitudes.
The second of consecutive atmospheric rivers slowly hit California early Monday, flooding roads and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power. causing an unusual hurricane-force wind warning as the already soaked state prepared for another day of heavy storms and rain.
The second of consecutive atmospheric rivers slowly hit California early Monday. Photo: David McNew / AFP
Storm flooded streets and downed trees and power lines Sunday in the San Francisco Bay area, where winds exceeded 60 mph (96 kph) in some areas. Gusts of more than 128 kilometers per hour (80 mph) were recorded in the mountains.
Just south, in San Jose, emergency crews pulled occupants from the windows of a car stranded by floodwaters and rescued people from a homeless encampment along a swollen river.
The storm then moved into Southern California, where authorities warned of potentially devastating flooding and ordered evacuations from canyons that burned in recent wildfires and are at high risk of mud and debris flows.
Classes were canceled Monday in schools across Santa Barbara County, which was devastated by landslides caused by powerful storms in 2018.
Further down the coast, strong winds and heavy rain brought dangerous conditions to the city of Ventura, said Alexis Herrera, who was trying to rescue his sedan that was filled with flood water. “All the highways around here are flooded,” Herrera said in Spanish. “I don't know how I'm going to move my car.”
According to poweroutage.us, more than 845,000 customers were without power across the state as of Sunday night.
Strong winds complicated flights
The winds caused hours-long delays at San Francisco International Airport. At 2:30 p.m. on Sunday155 departure flights were delayed and 69 were cancelled, according to tracking website FlightAware. There were also delays at the San Jose and Sacramento airports.
A car moves on a flooded road in Topanga, California. Photo: APU GOMES / AFP
Palisades Tahoe, a ski resort about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, said Sunday that anticipated the heaviest snowfall so far this season, with accumulations of 15 centimeters per hour for a total of up to 60 centimeters. Heavy snow was expected through Monday in the Sierra Nevada and motorists were urged to avoid mountain roads.
Much of the state had been drying out due to the system that came into play last week, causing flooding and dumping snow in the mountains. The latest storm, also called “Pineapple Express” because its plume of moisture extends across the Pacific to near Hawaii, hit the Northern California coast on Saturday, when most of the state was under some form of weather warning. wind, waves or flood.
The weather service issued a rare “hurricane force wind warning” for the central coast, with gusts of up to 148 kph possible from the Monterey Peninsula to the northern section of San Luis Obispo County.
With information from the Associated Press